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Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking/Hiking Tales & Tips #175, May 1, 2013
Welcome to new members
Washing your sleeping bag
Hike Naked Day
Walking offers similar benefits to running
Tell it On the Mountain
Volunteers need to do trail on PCT near Portland, OR
Andrew Skurka, hiker extraordinaire gives slide shows on Alaska and Backpacking gear and prep
Calipidder and Hoo-rag.com
Regional: Bay Area: Hike for Camino friends
Kickstarter project on Grizzlies
Selected shorts from Susan
Alcorn's Patagonia programs scheduled for July in Sacramento & Folsom
photo info at the end of this newsletter
#1. Welcome new subscribers! Most of you are from the large group that attended our April 9th program on the Camino de Santiago at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center in Lafayette, CA. We had a great time sharing our slides and info and enjoyed the wonderful reception that we got and the well thought out questions. My only regret is that so many people had to sit on the floor or stand for the show. We are discussing with the library the possibility of returning in the fall. If you have ideas for a similar program in your neck of the woods—preferably with more seatingJ--please let me know.
#2. Recently read about someone having problems washing his sleeping bag, which surprised me because I have washed mine several times with no problems. I decided to ask around and received a few responses including this one: “I have washed my zero degree Eastern Mountain Sports down bag two or three times, (it’s about 12 years old), with great results.
It is worth it to go to a Laundromat with a large commercial washer and dryer. Might take $6 or $7 worth of quarters, but it is worth it. Then take it out and let it drip for a few minutes, DO NOT WRING IT. Then into the large commercial dryer with tennis balls (3) minimum, or a clean pair of tennis shoes. Tumble on LOW, take it out and fluff it a few times, so it may take a few hours and a few quarters.”
I have washed mine in a similar fashion and I have also used a variation: I do this during a warm stretch of weather. Using special soap for down (REI or similar), I fill the bathtub with warm water, dump the bag in and swish it around for a few minutes. Let the soapy water drain out. Replenish water, agitate, and repeat until water is clear. Allow the bag to drain on its own for a while, then carefully supporting it, load it into a laundry basket or similar. Allow it to dry fully supported on a table, or other large surface, outdoors. It’ll probably take a day or two to dry. Then I take it to the Laundromat to fluff it up—using a tennis ball if I can find one.
The main cautions are: not let the weight of the wet down tear apart the baffling inside the bag and the tennis balls are to help fluff up the down.
#3. Get ready: “Hike Naked Day” is June 21, 2013 (Solstice). www.hikingnaked.com (I’m planning on staying homeJ
#4. Marcy added to the list of what you can do with extra sock, “and don't forget...socks helped pad my shoulder straps on my old backpack....but don't need them now...new pack! New Straps!“
#5. Walking provides similar benefits to running. It’s always nice to have our observations confirmed by scientific studies. An AHA (American Health Assoc) conducted a study of more than 33,060 runner and 15,045 regular walkers for six years and found that ifthey burnedthesame number of calories during exercise, they had similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Comparison was approx. 1 mile of running to 1.4 miles of walking. The risk for diabetes by both groups was about 12% less than for non-exercisers.
In addition, the longer the run or walk, the greater the benefit. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity such as brisk walking per week for adults to 64 years, or about 75 minutes of vigorous exercise such as running per week. Link to study: http://bit.ly/Zb8TCV. Link to CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html
#6. In the U.S., West Nile Disease is the main issue with mosquitoes, but there are other mosquito borne diseases out there that can be acquired—such as dengue fever—in the U.S. There have been cases of dengue reported in Texas, Florida, and Hawaii in recent years. If you are heading for mosquito territory, consider spraying, or immersing your clothing, beforehand in a repellent. See here for map: http://www.cdc.gov/features/StopMosquitoes/
You can also purchase clothing items that are pre-treated, but the treatment eventually wears off, so you need to re-treat it from time to time. We use Sawyers’, which is available at REI and other outdoor retailers.
The CDC recommends these products along with the comment that the efficacy varies depending on percentage of the active ingredients, and how much the person is perspiring, etc.
DEET (Chemical Name: N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide or N,N-diethly-3-methyl-benzamide)
Picaridin (KBR 3023, Chemical Name: 2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperidinecarboxylic acid 1-methylpropyl ester )
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus* or PMD (Chemical Name: para-Menthane-3,8-diol) the synthesized version of oil of lemon eucalyptus
IR3535 (Chemical Name: 3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester)
Other ideas for avoiding mosquito problems include staying indoors during the time that mosquitoes are most active—which is not too practical for long-distance hikers! Interestingly the CDC commented that the mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus are most active sundown through sunrise. Good reason to conduct a search or your tent before you bed down for the night and keep your tent zipped.
The CDC still rates products containing DEET as most effective, but other products may be effective for varying amounts of time. Go here to read more.
#7. Bedbugs can be a problem to travelers—and not just to those who are hiking the Camino de Santiago (though that’s where I most frequently hear concerns raised.) However, they certainly do not affect everyone; Ralph and I have been on Camino hikes 10 different times and have not encountered them. Most people aren’t. However, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The CDC has the following list of recommendations on their site.
- “Inspect the premises of hotels or other unfamiliar sleeping locations for bed bugs on mattresses, box springs, bedding, and furniture, particularly built-in furniture with the bed, desk, and closets as a continuous structural unit. Travelers who observe evidence of bed bug activity—whether it be the bugs themselves or physical signs such as blood-spotting on linens—should seek alternative lodging.
- Keep suitcases closed when they are not in use and try to keep them off the floor.
- It is best in high-risk areas to remove clothing and personal items, such as toiletry bags and shaving kits, from the suitcase only when they are in use.
- Carefully inspect clothing and personal items before returning them to the suitcase.
- Keep in mind that bed bug eggs and nymphs can be very small [1-7 mm in length] and are easily overlooked." Link is here.
#8. Getting medical care while abroad. We have had a couple of experiences trying to get medical abroad and had no problem getting quality and timely care, but just in case, you might want to be covered for travel in more off-the-beaten track, you might want to read the CDC’s article, Getting Health Care Abroad before you go. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/GetCareAbroad/index.html
#9. We recently reviewed Tell it on the Mountain - Tales from the Pacific Crest Trail, which is “a newly released two-hour documentary that follows a half dozen of the 300 or so hikers who attempt the Pacific Crest Trail every year. While much of the film was shot by professionals, the producers did something a little different. They gave cameras to individual hikers, which help provide an intimate look into their adventure.” (from the producers).
After thoroughly enjoying the DVD, I wrote the following review at Amazon.com, Tell it on the Mountain -- Tales from the Pacific Crest Trail brings us the stories of a half-dozen amazing backpackers. You meet an engaged couple planning to get married while on the trail; a second couple forced to deal with a serious medical emergency; Scott Williamson, who has “yo-yo” hiked the trail (gone border to border and then back again) twice and set various speed records, and the legendary “Billy Goat” who says he will only stop hiking the PCT when he can no longer walk. We also meet “Trail Angel” Donna Saufley on the trail. Donna and her husband Jeff play host to hundreds of PCT hikers at their home in Agua Dulce each year.”
You tube link: http://www.youtube.com/embed/Z9C5tNZjfWo Website: https://www.facebook.com/TellItOnTheMountain DVD available at the website and Amazon.com
10. PCT class of 2010 "reunion" trail crew/ Cari and Pete Tucker firstname.lastname@example.org are looking for several volunteer to work on PCT trail near Portland, OR.
“Greetings, PCT 2010 hikers, Game on!! Sandals and Sheepdog are now actively recruiting for the previously announced Class of 2010 "reunion" trail crew. We're scheduled for August 10th-17th, 2013 on a section of the PCT near Portland that will be selected once the snow is out and the PCTA has assessed maintenance needs in the area. Check out the new "PCT 2010 trail crew" Facebook page for all the details. You can: "Like" the page to receive updates as planning for the "reunion" crew moves forwards; share the page with your hiking buddies, encouraging them to join the fun; see who is attending by checking out the August 10th-17th work crew "event" on the page' sign up for the crew by selecting the work crew "event," and pressing the "join" button. Feel free to post a comment on the event "wall" while you're at it. Don't be shy about signing up --if we don't get enough 2010 hikers to fill a complete work crew, we'll just cancel the event. After all, what fun is a reunion if you're the only one there? . . . .On the other hand, we only need 12 to make it a go-- grab your friends and come on!"
#11. Andrew Skurka is giving numerous "Circling Alaska & Yukon" slideshows or "Backpacking Gear, Supplies & Skills" clinics this spring. Check his website for time and more details, click here.
- May 4: Outdoor Expo, Bangor, ME
- May 6: BSA Troop 78, Boulder, CO
- May 10: Appalachian State, Boone, NC
- May 17: GOPC, Chapel Hill, NC
- May 20: BSA, Charlottesville, VA
- May 23: Neptune Mtn'rng, Boulder, CO
- May 30: Colorado Mtn Club, Golden, CO
- June 5: PWV, Fort Collins, CO
- June 14: The Mountaineers, Seattle, WA
- June 14: Microsoft, Redmond, WA
#12. A woman with the trail name of Calipidder has an interesting blog. Calipidder is explained as "[kal-uh-pid-er] - noun: Free Range Backpacker, Climber, Runner, Gear Nerd," and her blog is here.
Upon reading her post of April 30, 2013, I learned about “hoo rag,” a stretchy tube made of synthetic material which has numerous uses: beanie, headband, neck gaiter, pirate cap, balaclava, etc. I’m definitely going to get one and give it a try. The selection of pattern is fun! You can go to http://www.hoorag.com and look around.
#13. Regional Camino pilgrim hike: Tilden Regional Park Hike. Saturday, May 11, 2013, 10:00 a.m. Info on Facebook under Peregrinos – Northern California
“Bobbi Bader is leading us on a moderate eight-mile hike in Tilden Regional Park, located in the hills above Berkeley. We’ll meet at Inspiration Point on Wildcat Canyon Road at 10:00 and start our hike by 10:15 descending into Laurel Canyon with a short stop at Jewel Lake to view the ducks and turtles sunning themselves (restrooms at the nearby Visitor Center). Traversing fern covered pathways reminiscent of Costa Rica, we will then pass through a Redwood grove and have a lunch/snack stop at Lake Anza. We amble through scenic gorges before ascending back to the cars.
This is a wonderful opportunity to get together with fellow pilgrims! If you are yet to experience the Camino, bring your questions so you can get advice from seasoned pilgrims. Dress for the weather and bring your camera, lunch and water along with your hat, sunscreen and hiking poles.
To Reach the Park: There are many entrances to Tilden Regional Park (see attached map for details). If you’re not familiar with the park, the easiest access to Inspiration Point is from its east side via Wildcat Canyon Road, which is off San Pablo Dam Road just north of Orinda Village (take the Orinda exit off Highway 24 east of the Caldecott Tunnel). Inspiration Point is at the top of the hill. Map here.
Note: There are restrooms at Inspiration Point, but no water. Also, since there are many cyclists on the roads on Saturdays, allow extra driving time.
#14. I received the following earlier this week and found it enticing. We all know about Kickstarter projects, but not knowing Scott personally, I can’t vouch for him or his project, but I definitely think it is worth checking out. “My Name is Scott and I am a filmmaker and outdoor enthusiast from Seattle, WA. I contacted you because we have a mutual appreciation for the outdoors and nature. I am filming a new documentary movie about the search for grizzly bears in the North Cascades National Forest in an attempt get the first ever documented video footage of a grizzly bear in the North Cascades. This film "Cascade Giants" will be a powerful visual journey of exploration & beauty in a search for the last of the remaining Grizzlies in this area. We are trying to raise funding for this project through a KickStarter campaign..."
Here is a link to our project. Website: SeattleMediaHouse.com
#15. Susan’s recent blogs that you may find of interest:
#16. Dates and details will come out in the next issue of this newsletter, but if you live in Sacramento or Folsom areas, you’ll be able to see our Patagonia program at the REI stores in July.
Susan “backpack45” Alcorn
Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking/Hiking Tales & Tips #174, April 1, 2013
Small knives and hiking poles OK
Yosemite and other national parks free days
Watch out for Ambien overdoses
Who knew this about Babybel Cheese?
Pilgrim dies crossing the Pyrenees on the Camino Frances
Regional: Camino talk at Lafayette Library
Regional: Sustainable Lafayette, CA
Youth camping grants
Regional: Big Basin, Central Coast, CA
Follow Boots McFarland Cartoon
Ticks and Lyme disease
Regional: Llama walks in Redwood Regional Park
Melissa West art reception and shows
Clever Scrub Jays
#1. It’s a big win for many hikers—starting April 25, the TSA will allow passengers to carry-on small knives (less than 2.36” long/1/2” wide blade) and regular hiking poles. Ever since 9/11, these items have been illegal to pack in carry-on luggage. This change in policy will make things more convenient for many hikers and backpackers. No more fears about losing that small Swiss Army knife that you neglected to leave at home. No need to be concerned about how to pack hiking poles so that they remain intact until your destination.
#2. It’s usually $20 per car to enter Yosemite (unless you have a pass), but on April 22-26 (during National Parks Week); Aug. 25 (National Park Service Birthday); Sep. 28 (National Public Lands Day) and Nov. 9-11 (Veteran’s Day weekend), the entrance fees to all of our national parks are waived. (209)372-0200. http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm. Note: 265 of your 398 national parks never charge an entrance fee.
#3. The FDA recently announced that women who take Ambien (sleeping pill) should take only half the dose previously recommended. That works out to 5 mg. for the regular; 6.25 mg. for extended release. They suggest that men also start with the smaller dose and increase only to the point where they don't experience next-day drowsiness. No spoiler here, you can read about my experience with Ambien in my Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine.
#4. Dual usage by Warner Springs Monty Tam, “The wax from Babybel cheese makes amazing earplugs to sleep on the bus.....or trail.” Mike Cunningham adds, “They also burn as a candle (with tp inside) for about 10 minutes.”
#5. Details are still missing on this, but on March 22, this info was posted on the American Pilgrims on the Camino Facebook page. A pilgrim, initials, G.C.J, died on the Camino, while attempting to cross the Pyrenees by the Route Napoleon, which is high crossing route between St. Jean Pied du Port and Roncesvalles. He had been missing for several days before he was spotted by someone else walking in the vicinity, who then notified local search and rescue. The Mountain Rescue Unit of the Guardia Civil and SOS Navarra near Roncesvalles said that G.C.J. appeared to have died from a fall off a cliff in a rugged area of the Camino, near Mt. Ortzanzurieta (1.567 metres). His backpack, walking staff and other belongings were found with him. The Guardia Civil says that the victim was 43 years old, and of Brazilian origin, though he had Canadian nationality.
#6. Reminder: Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 7:00 PM. Susan and Ralph Alcorn will give a digital slide show on the pilgrimage route known as the Camino de Santiago at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, CA 94549. (925) 385-2283.
Since 2001, independent travelers Susan and Ralph Alcorn have walked more than 1,800 miles through France, Portugal, and Spain, following ancient pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, the reputed burial place of the disciple Saint James. Susan will give a digital presentation of their five-week trek along Spain’s most traveled route, the 500-mile Camino from Roncesvalles to Santiago, and will share a few highlights of their days on pilgrimage paths in France. Come walk with Susan through quaint medieval towns in the high mountains of the Pyrenees, across the fertile red soils of the Rioja region, to the lush green Galician Hills.
#7. Sustainable Lafayette Earth Day. Come by the Authors' Table at Sustainable Lafayette Earth Day celebration on Sunday, April 21, at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation (Lafayette, CA). Get your signed copy of Patagonia Chronicle; Camino Chronicle;or We're in the Mountains Not over the Hill. Or, just say hi. Chance to win a free copy!
Lafayette’s 8th Annual Earth Day Celebration will be 11:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. (parade leaves Stanley Middle School at 10:45 A.M.)
“Sustainable Lafayette, the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, the City of Lafayette, and the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce invite you to Lafayette’s 8th annual Earth Day Picnic & Celebration! For over 40 years, Earth Day has inspired and mobilized individuals and organizations worldwide to demonstrate their commitment to environment protection and sustainability. In Lafayette we will be celebrating our efforts to protect our environment with a community celebration at the beautiful Lafayette Library.”
There will be food, live music, bounce house and crafts for kids, as well as Interactive activities from Lawrence Hall of Science and Lindsay Wildlife Museum. Visit the No-Waste Zone – Get inspired, educated and involved in the City of Lafayette’s goal to reduce waste. Get help at Stanley: Helmet/Seat/Tire adjustment by Sharp Bicycle, or with electronic waste recycling.
"Join the popular self-propelled parade, which will depart Stanley at 10:45 A.M. Bring your festively decorated bike, skateboard, scooter, wagon, or just your feet. Great for kids and adults!"
Volunteers needed: email@example.com. More info: click here.
#8. Youth Camping Grants are again being made available at Lassen Volcanic National Park. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Anderson, Calif. – The Lassen Park Foundation (LPF) is inviting groups that help children in need to apply for Youth Camping Grants by May 1.
“Last year, we awarded 26 grants to groups of challenged youth from Northern California and Southern Oregon,” said LPF Chairman John Koeberer. “Each grant provides up to $1,000 to take kids camping in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Often, this is the first camping experience and the first visit to a national park for these children.”
“Kids helped by these grants are at risk. They’re often homeless, from broken homes, or in situations where their families just can’t afford to take them camping,” said Koeberer, “The grants paid for camping supplies, transportation and food for nearly 500 kids and their chaperones. Koeberer continued, “Last year, Lassen Volcanic provided close to 100 days of camping and activities for these groups. The kids learned how to camp, gained an appreciation for nature and worked on service projects, building self-confidence, independence, teamwork, a sense of ownership of the national park and a love of the outdoors. Kids leave inspired by what they accomplished and by Lassen Volcanic, making this one of the most gratifying programs we do,” said Koeberer.
To qualify for a grant, Group leaders must establish that their kids need financial assistance. They must also organize the camping trip, provide adult supervision and insurance. “That’s all we ask,” said Koeberer. Information about applying for an LPF Youth Camping Grant can be obtained by calling 530-378-2600, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.lassenparkfoundation.org.
The Lassen Park Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that provides philanthropic support to preserve and interpret the natural and cultural resources of Lassen Volcanic National Park and its environs, for present and future generations. Areas of focus include youth programs, enhanced interpretive and educational activities, trail restoration, wildlife research, and cultural development.
#9. Regional: Big Basin Walkabout. American Pilgrims Northern CA branch hike on May 25. "This hike to Berry Creek Falls in Big Basin State Park will be a more strenuous 6 hour walk with an elevation change of approx. 2000 feet (think of a full Camino day to O'Cebreiro) Pilgrims will enjoy scenic views of Redwoods, Waterfalls and Ocean as well as the changing flora and fauna as we pass through regions of different geological origin. Please bring water, lunch, sunscreen and a hat and layered clothing.
Meeting point can be at 9:30 at San Lorenzo Valley High School on HWY 9 in Felton for those who want to carpool from there and save on park fees and at 10:00
for everybody else at the Ranger Station/ Visitor Center at the official entrance of Big Basin State Park off HWY 236 at 21600 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek, CA 95006.
For a detailed description of the hike, maps and directions refer to the Big Basin State Park web site.
But here is a brief version;
- Coming from HWY 17 going South take Bear Creek exit just past Los Gatos and Lexington Reservoir
- Turn left onto Bear Creek Rd, 27 min,
- Turn left onto CA- 9 South in Boulder Creek, 1min
- Take 3rd right on Ca-236 N-Big Basin Way, 3min
- Follow 236 for approx. 20 min, look for signs to park entrance.
For those who want to make it a weekend trip, there is plenty of lodging available in Boulder Creek (Campgrounds at Big Basin or Henry Cowell State Parks) in Santa Cruz, Capitola or at Costa Noa, North off HWY 1, just South of Pigeon Point Lighthouse. They offer tent or wood cabins and a campground and restaurant if you want to be off the beaten path and close to the ocean.
#10. If you do Facebook, you can follow the antics of "Boots" McFarland Cartoon as she hikes through the mountains making funny (mostly true) observations.
#11. Ticks and Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease is named after the town of Old Lyme, Connecticut, where the first U.S. cases were reported. This bacterial disease has existed in Europe for more than 100 years. It has increasingly become a problem in the California and the rest of the U.S. Here are some facts to know:
There are dozens of species of ticks in California; only the western black-legged tick is “of importance” in the transmission of Lyme Disease to humans.
Life cycle of the Western Black-Legged Tick:
- Larval stage-tick is only pinpoint-sized and often feeds on the dusky-footed woodrat (packrat), who becomes a host. We can see the nests of the woodrats (large piles of twigs) in some of our wooded parks.
- Nymph stage: Still tiny at 1/25 inch. Very active as the weather warms in April and May. Usually feed on birds, rodents, lizards—and sometimes humans.
- Adult stage: Seldom feed on humans. As cold weather approaches, the female adult again needs to find a host.
- East Bay Area: 1-2 % of tick adults are infected/up to 6% of nymphs are infected
- Northern California: 6-10% of tick adults are infected
- Eastern U.S.: 30-60% of adult ticks are infected/25% of nymphs.
Prevention tactics for hikers:
- Treat clothing beforehand with permethrin (appears preferred) or DEET
- Wear light-colored clothing (so you can see the contrasting black coloration of the tick)
- Long pants tucked into socks
- Checking clothing periodically; wiping back of neck to dislodge any “hitchhikers.”
- Stay on paths when possible and keep to the middle avoiding overhanging shrubs and grasses.
- Shower after possible exposure.
- Ticks have to be attached for at least 1-2 days to be a problem
- Recommended removal is using a pair of tweezers, grasping the tick close to the skin and slowly pulling straight out. Once removed, scrape any remaining body parts off with a credit card or similar. Wash thoroughly. Seek medical treatment if warranted.
- Main symptom, which occurs in an estimated 60-80% of cases, is a bulls-eye type rash that appears 8-10 days after infection. Antibiotics are effective at this stage!
- Untreated Lyme disease can be a very serious matter; can cause arthritis, heart, or neurological disorders.
Bay Area residents are lucky to have Western Fence Lizards living nearby. There is an ingredient in the Western Fence Lizards’ blood that kills the Lyme Disease bacteria in the Western Black-legged tick. The main host on the east coast is the white-footed rat, which can host the ticks. This reportedly accounts for the large difference in incidence between west and east.
(from Living with Ticks, a pamphlet by Alan Kaplan for the East Bay Regional Park District www.ebparks.org)
More info at Center for Disease Control
#12. Llama walks in East Bay Regional Park. This link will take you to my most recent blog, which is about walks you can take with llamas (family friendly). The photos are from Machu Picchu, Peru.
#13. Regional: Santa Cruz+. Melissa West, a Camino hiker and artist, sends the following: April News from Melissa West.
Art Reception: April 5, 2013. "You and your friends are invited to join me at a reception for my current show at the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission offices. Here are the details: "Dreaming in Color" reception. Friday, April 5, 2013. 5pm - 7pm. SCCRTC offices, 1523 Pacific Avenue, 2nd floor, Santa Cruz, CA.
"I hope to be leading two or three one-day linoleum block workshops in May. Also, I'll be taking part in the Monterey Peninsula Printmakers' Club's annual show at the Felix Kulpa Gallery in May. This year the show's title is "Myths, Lies, and Legends." And I'll be back at the Abbey for another show. May is shaping up to be a busy month! More details will come soon. See my work online at www.mswest.com"
#14. Clever Scrub-Jays. (The Gull, Spring 2013) "The Clever Scrub-Jay" by Judith Dunham. I knew that Western Scrub-Jays were members of the corvid family (which also includes crows, ravens magpies) and were known for their intelligence. What I didn't know is that (according to New Zealand researchers) New Caledonian Crows are as adept as chimpanzees at tool making and then using these tools to get food.
Also found it interesting that the scrub-jay, which buries many more acorns than it will ever find again), will also will bury a peanut (or other food to be stored) and then cover the site with a leaf or piece of bark. They are alert to any potential robbers and will dig up and rebury an acorn if it thinks another bird saw it bury it the first time!
Thanks for everything, contributors!
Susan “backpack45” Alcorn
Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking/Hiking Tales & Tips #173, March 1, 2013
Earth Day approaching
Alcorn’s Camino program next in Lafayette, CA
Cicerone guide to Northern Camino routes
A most amazing woman: Winter Pilgrim
Legal issues and backpacking
For women only
Why choose a walking vacation?
Brett Stuckel & new affordable Camino book
Bicycling the Camino de Santiago
Kimberlie Dame and her 101 reasons
Karen Najarian & Sierra Spirit
Tom Courtney & Walkabout Northern California - Hiking Inn to Inn
Celebration: REI store opening in Florida
Top expert Andrew Skurka schedules talks and trips
#1. Earth Day, officially April 22, is being celebrated by many municipalities and organizations on the preceding weekend, April 20-21. Be sure to find a suitable way to make your contribution and mark it on your calendar early.
The California State Parks Foundation is planning its 16th Annual Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup even earlier— Saturday, April 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This program is supported by PG&E at select state parks across California and volunteers are needed. Registration will be open on their website from March 4 to April 8 – so mark your calendars. (You must register to attend.) Link here.
“Volunteers will be needed to help complete environmental improvement projects such as trail maintenance, installation of fences, trash/debris cleanup, weeding and campfire center improvements. Hope to see you there!”
Our beleaguered State Parks need all the help they can get—and they have many opportunities for volunteers to help out. On March 23, they are having their first volunteer workday at Salt Point State Park in Sonoma County. Pre-registered volunteers are eligible for free camping on that Friday and Saturday.
#2. Tuesday, March 19, 2013. 7:00 PM. Susan and Ralph Alcorn give a digital slide show on the Camino de Santiago at Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3941 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, CA 94549. (925) 385-2283.
The announcement: "Since 2001, independent travelers Susan and Ralph Alcorn have walked more than 1,800 miles through France, Portugal, and Spain, following ancient pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, the reputed burial place of the disciple Saint James. Susan will give a digital presentation of their five-week trek along Spain’s most traveled route, the 500-mile Camino from Roncesvalles to Santiago, and will share a few highlights of their days on pilgrimage paths in France. Come walk with Susan through quaint medieval towns in the high mountains of the Pyrenees, across the fertile red soils of the Rioja region, to the lush green Galician Hills."
#3. Camino Guide: Ralph recently reviewed a new book, The Northern Caminos, by Laura Perazzoli and Dave Whitson, a Cicerone Guide. Available on Amazon UK now, on Amazon.com April 30.
“I’m quite pleased with this little gem from the Cicerone Guide series. My only reservation is the weight - at 3/4 of a pound for this 4 1/2 by 6 3/4 inch volume, it weighs more than my Kindle. When I use it on a trip, I will be cutting out everything that does not directly apply to my route….. You do get quality for that weight. Water resistant, heavy white glossy paper is durable and shows off the color maps and photographs well.
“The first forty pages include the overview map and the introduction, covering such subjects as The story of St. James, choosing your Camino, when to go, equipment, and many similar topics. This material is covered in almost all books about the various Caminos, and I think that Perazzoli and Whitson have done a better job of it than I have seen anywhere else. Clear, succinct but nothing of importance left out…
“The rest of the book is devoted to the day by day route descriptions, the Camino del Norte in 31 stages, the Camino Primitivo in 12 stages, the Camino Inglés in 4 stages, and the Camino Finisterre in 3 stages.
“Start location, finish, distance, total ascent & descent, difficulty rating, and albergues encountered…. general description of the stage[s], color topographic map of the stage[s], 1:50,000 with a 1 km grid…things of interest, ruins, junctions, pharmacies, bars, etc.” backpack45.com, timecheck00.blogspot.com
#4. Winter Pilgrim reaches Peru on her northern walk. I am following the blog of a most amazing woman, who calls herself “Winter Pilgrim.” She is hiking alone in South America—started in Chile and is now in Peru. I loved this line in Day 163’s installment, as she drops from the mountains into the jungle, “Passing through some unknown altitude, I hit a wall of humidity that made my hair curl so fast, my hat fell off.” She also says that during her journey she has probably talked to upwards of 8,000 people because she often has to ask for help finding routes and accommodations along her hike. “We need more pilgrims,” she says. "We need more peace in the world." You can follow Winter Pilgrim here.
#5. Marcia Powers forwarded this intriguing pdf for hikers/backpackers. It is dated 2007, but had info new to all of us. Most of us don’t give much thought to legal issues when we set out backpacking beyond paying attention to where we need bear canisters and where we can legally camp, but perhaps we should do a read through about other issues that might arise. Click here.
#6. For women only: I recently wrote about the many uses of socks beyond foot wear and that jogged a friend’s memory about an earlier era of backpacking. Jackie called to say, “Back in the 1950’s when we were backpacking in the Sierras, we all wore blue jeans and flannel shirts. There wasn’t lightweight gear (nor was there gear specifically designed for women). Our heavy packs would dig painfully into our shoulders. We came up with a solution—using Kotex to pad our shoulders.” Never underestimate the ingenuity of a hiker!
7. TheWayfarers have launched a new guidebook, “Walk Away Guide,” which you can download as a pdf, request by email, or order by telephone. The Wayfarers lead walking vacations throughout the world. They have produced a new, free 34 page guide to why exploring the world on foot is the best way to travel. The Walk Away Guide, by travel writer Everett Potter, also offers expert advice on how to choose a destination, how to prepare, what to pack and who you’ll meet. Potter writes, “'Even at two miles per hour – after all, this is not a race - the world can be so rich, so dense with history, meaning and beauty, that you may occasionally feel that you want to walk even slower. Walking is the most natural form of exercise and a walk through a landscape is the best way to get to know a place.'
“A walking vacation is the ultimate in slow travel. The Wayfarers believes it’s not just about ‘getting there’ but savouring the journey and noticing the details along the trail, which makes a vacation truly memorable. Just as the Slow Food Movement is about much more than eating, slow travel is about much more than reaching your destination.”
#8. Brett Stuckel is the author of the new Camino book entitled Guided by Shadows. He mentions that it's a quick read of about 15,000 words and it's only $0.99 as an e-book. Brett who walked the Camino in 2005 and was a hospitalero in Viana, Najera & Santo Domingo in 2007 explains, “Guided by Shadows puts you on the path to Santiago. It reveals not only the joys and pains of the route, but also the mysteries, frustrations and absurdity of a 500-mile walking pilgrimage.” You can visit his website and see more about him. The book on Amazon is at this link.
#9. I recently heard from a backpacking friend who we shared a PCT campsite with many years back. David is giving some thought to bicycling the Camino de Santiago. Although I haven’t developed a list of them, I know there are books about bicycling the Camino out there. However, there is also a free guide to the Galicia section of the trail available on the Xacobeo website. If you scroll down the page, you'll find a downloadable pdf on doing the French Way on bicycle—and also on foot! Click here.
#10. Kimberlie Dame, a major hiker/backpacker/traveler, has an entertaining blog called The New Nomads. Her latest post, “101 More Truly Compelling Reasons to go on a Very Long-Distance” is fun to read.
#11. Karen Najarian is the owner/manager of Sierra Spirit, which she launched when her trips with other companies became “so popular that she outgrew their capabilities.” Sierra Spirit specializes in taking new and experienced backpackers to world class destinations in Yosemite National Park and Inyo National Forest. Karen began leading backpackers for other companies in 1997 and ran the REI Yosemite program for 10 years. ‘We grew it from the first Yosemite trip of less than 5 to 260+ clients a summer on 28 trips with rave reviews and repeat guests bringing along friends and family.’" Link to Sierra Spirit.
#12. Tom Courtney, author of Walkabout Northern California - Hiking Inn to Inn, will be wrapping up his Northern California book tour in March at these three REI stores. The events are free, but they may fill up, so check out the stores’ websites and register in advance. All of the presentations go from 7-8:30.
- REI Fremont March 5
- REI Corte Madera March 6
- REI San Francisco March 20
#13. REI opens a new store in Jacksonville, FL today. A happy camper alerted me to this when she wrote, “REI opens their first Florida store: something us [sic] backpackers have been looking forward to for decades. No longer will we have to make the long drive to Atlanta in search of a wide selection of backpacking gear at reasonable prices.” She continues, “The first 200 people (age 12 and older) through the door on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will receive a limited-edition CamelBak water bottle with a $10, $25, $50 or $100 REI promotional gift card inside. Doors open at 10 AM Friday, 9 AM Saturday and 10 AM Sunday. And they’ll have a daily sweepstakes, too.” There’s also a free light breakfast served starting an hour before the opening times each day.
In addition, if you purchase an REI membership (buy once, get annual member refunds for life, well worth it) during the grand opening weekend, you’ll get a free limited-edition REI Sport Tech T-Shirt. Memberships are $20.” 4862 Big Island Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32246. Phone: 904-996-1613. Website here.·
#14. Susan to focus on hiking/backpacking blog: I’ve decided to stop writing for Examiner.com and am now putting my energy into my blog because I like having my say over what ads are run (if any!). You can find me musing about hiking and the world at large: click here to read and/or follow.
#15. Adventurer Andrew Skurka brings his slide shows, “Circling Alaska & Yukon” to Texas, North Carolina, and along the east coast this month. He also has some openings (or waitlist spots) in his guided trips to such places as Shenandoah, VA; Olympic Ntl. Park, WA; and the Alaska Range that you can join. His speaking & slideshow schedule, click here. His guided trips schedule, click here.
Thanks for everything, contributors!
Susan “backpack45” Alcorn
Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking/Hiking Tales & Tips #172, February 1, 2013
- Keeping your brain fit.
- Launching the Patagonia slideshow in S.F. Bay Area
- Melissa West offers a linoleum block workshop this weekend!
- Welcome new subscribers!
- Jane Blanchard’s Pinterest Board of Camino books
- Alcorn’s March Camino talk in Lafayette, CA
- More uses for socks
- Statistics on Americans on the Camino
- Northern CA chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino to meet
- Knit vs. woven fabrics
- Pay back—work on the Pacific Crest Trail
- Pay back—be a hospitalero (host) in Spain
- Andrew Skurka offers backpacking trips to Alaska, Colorado, the Sierra and more!
- Patagonia: Examiner.com interview with a guide
- Reminder: Pilgrim gathering in Santa Barbara
- Reminder: PCTA Trail Days 2013 date set
- ALDHA-West September event set
- Pilgrim events in Colorado, North Carolina, and Seattle
#1. Bruce Barton wrote, "If you want to know if your brain is flabby, feel your legs." Interestingly, I recently read that walking—especially in the woods as opposed to the city—is better exercise for the brain than working crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and similar games. Important for aging brains to consider!
#2. We are looking forward to our February series of programs for the Bay Area REI stores on Patagonia and hope many of you will join us. The first one, in Fremont, will be this coming Tuesday, Feb. 5th. (photo at Los Pinguinos Reserve, Chile)
“Exploring Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park & More: Majestic peaks, hanging glaciers, turquoise lakes, condors soaring overhead… southern Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park offers hikers some of the most magnificent mountain scenery in the world.
“Join Susan Alcorn, author of Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine, for a digital presentation of her recent backpacking trips with her husband on the park’s classic routes–the “W” and the “O” circuit. Susan will also share highlights of their adventures exploring Chile’s picturesque Lake District, penguin-watching in the Magdalena and Marta Islands, day-tripping in Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park, and enjoying the vibrant cities of Santiago and Buenos Aires. If you register for this free presentation at www.rei.com/stores, we will hold a seat for you until the scheduled start time.” Note: Seating may be available at the door, even if registration is closed.
7 pm–8:30 pm, Tuesday, February 5 at REI Fremont, CA
7 pm–8:30 pm, Tuesday, February 12 at REI Marina, CA
7 pm–8:30 pm, Wednesday, February 20 at REI San Carlos, CA
7 pm–8:30 pm, Wednesday, February 27 at REI Corte Madera, CA
7 pm–8:30 pm, Thursday, February 28 at REI Brentwood, CA
#3. Another event coming up fast: Winter News from Melissa West: A Linoleum Block Workshop, Saturday and Sunday, February 2 & 3, 2013, 9am - 4pm each day.
“Most people remember carving linoleum blocks from their art classes in elementary school. But linoleum block prints are not just for kids! I'm offering a two-day weekend workshop that will introduce students to the basics of linoleum block printing.
“Students will learn how to plan, carve, and print a linoleum block print. Discussions will include how to think in black & white; how to plan your block; transferring a drawn image; carving techniques; different methods of printing; and easy ways to add color to your print.
Class size is limited to 10, so sign up early! Introduction to Linoleum Block Printing Class: $150.00; Supplies: $25.00; Total cost: $175.00. Location: Michael Angelo Gallery & Studios, 1111-A River Street, Santa Cruz. See my work online at www.mswest.com.
Melissa West is well known to many Bay Area (and beyond) residents for her Camino art inspired by her pilgrimage and other time spent in Spain.
#4. Welcome to our new subscribers including those from the Delta-Sierra chapter of the Sierra Club. Ralph and I had the good fortune of being invited to give a Camino presentation to the group and we enjoyed their interest and enthusiasm. My apologies if I misspelled any names—please let me know of any corrections needed. (photo to left of the ladders in Torres del Paine)
The group, which meets in Stockton, will have Rick Deutsch (Mr. Half Dome) as their featured speaker on Mon. Feb. 25th. Deutsch has hiked Half Dome 35 times.
#5. Jane Blanchard has created a Pinterest board of books on the Camino. Link is here.
#6. Ralph and I will be giving our Camino de Santiago presentation at the new Lafayette Library, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549. Click for map here: This will be on Tuesday, March 19th. 7 P.M. Come travel with us across the Pyrenees from France into Spain as millions of pilgrims have done before. www.lafayettelib.org
#7. Sox or Socks? In December, this newsletter ran a list of things hikers could do with socks. Eloise sent word that Cheryl Strayed in her book “Wild” used her socks to pad her hips. Any other ideas?
#8. According to www.jacobeo.net – The number of Americans on the Camino has more than doubled thanks to the movie "The Way." In 2011 there were 3334 Americans that got their Compostela and in 2012 that number went up to 7062! I know this Facebook page has more than doubled in less than a year.
#9. American Pilgrims on the Camino Northern California Chapter is having their annual meeting on Sat. Feb. 9, 2013. “Old pilgrims, new pilgrims, soon to be pilgrims should join the Northern California chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino for our 3rd annual meeting and second pilgrim's blessing on February 9, 2013. The event will begin around 11:30 in the parish hall of Church of the Resurrection, 399 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill, CA (same place as always).
“Last spring we blessed 18 pilgrims leaving in 2012 for Spain and beyond. That blessing was a separate event and was quite special. This year we are combining the pilgrim's blessing with the chapter's annual meeting. Many folks leave for Spain in March and April. We want to be certain to have our local chapter's pilgrim's blessing for these folks and still allow you to participate in the national organization's annual meeting in March in Santa Barbara. Stay tuned for more information about the national Gathering (or check out the APOC website). The blessing will be the lead event at this annual meeting so arrive on time if you plan to participate.
“Potluck lunch will follow the blessing. Plan to introduce yourself and, either ask a question if you're new to the Camino, or give advice if you're an experienced hand.
“Please bring your best dishes, snacks or wine to the event. We would appreciate an RSVP from those of you planning to attend and who have not RSVP’d to date.” (photo from along the Camino Mozarabe in S. Spain)
#10. I guess I never thought about it before, but I just read this and it makes sense: when choosing hiking clothing, consider that woven fabrics are better at preventing mosquito bites than knit fabrics are because of the greater porosity of the knitted items.
#11. Give back to the Pacific Crest Trail: Cari and Pete Tucker (email here) are spearheading a trail crew of PCT alumni. “Greetings, 2010 hikers, Sandals and I (Sheepdog) are still planning a second try at organizing a PCT class of 2010 "reunion" trail crew. We've set aside August 10th-18th, 2013 as the dates for this project, so if you think you'd like to participate, please reserve the date (along with a week of your 2013 vacation time). We'll start recruiting in earnest in late March/early April.
“The PCTA's Mount Hood chapter has again offered to help organize the work project, provided we can staff a full crew (10-12 volunteers). The exact location of the project will be determined once the spring snows start melting, and the PCTA determines where the trail is most in need of attention.
“Sandals and I volunteered for our first trail crew last fall, and had a great time. But it also opened our eyes to the staggering amount of work required to keep a 2663 mile trail in good condition. Thanks to the efforts of past volunteers, the PCT was there for us in 2010. Please join us in doing the work necessary to pass this gift along to the next generation of hikers.”
#12. Give back to the Camino: Rebekah Scott, who owns an albergue in Spain, writes “hospitaleros [are] needed this season at Casa Banderas in Vilachá, just before Portomarín, to work with South African Gordon Bell´s small, non-profit, renovated Galician farmhouse/albergue for two-week stretches. Like to cook? This is your gig! Contact Gordon at gordonbell(at)mweb.co.za. Tell em Reb sent you!
#13. Amazing opportunity to learn with the best. “Backpack with me in 2013!” Says Andrew Skurka: “For 2013 I am offering four different types of learning-intensive trips:
Level 1 - Backpacking Fundamentals: 3-day/2-night, 7 sessions
Level 2 - Winter Backpacking: 3-day/2-night, 1 session, Colorado
Level 2 - High Sierra Adventure: 7-day/6-night, 3 sessions
Level 3 - Alaska Adventure: 7-day/6-night, 2 sessions
“Registration for most trips will open to the public on Monday, February 4. I will send another email then. Demand for the 7-day trips in the High Sierra and in Alaska seems very high. If you hope to get on one of these trips, I'd advise you not to delay. I'm expecting all or most of the 3-day trips to eventually fill too.
Complete trip information -- including trip types, schedule, locations, costs, etc. -- is now available: http://andrewskurka.com/guided-trips”
#14. My two recent articles in Examiner.com focus on a guide who leads hikes in Torres del Paine in Chile. Check out:
#15. Reminder: Registration Closes March 1. The 16th Annual Gathering of Pilgrims, the “Hidden Life of the Camino” will be at the Old Mission Santa Barbara Renewal Center. March 15 - 17, 2013. The Hospitalero Training will take place March 12 - 14. Go to their site, click here, to register under National Events. The theme celebrates those things unseen or unnoticed along the trail.
“The Gathering starts with the Thursday evening reception. It is your first, but by no means last, opportunity to mingle and catch up with old friends and the latest trail gossip. Sessions and presentations start Friday morning and continue through Sunday morning at 11:30.
“Interspersed among them you will find sessions on bird life with Merry Roy; Geological features and rock formations will be discussed by Bruce Perry from the Department of Geological Sciences at California State University and Paul Dworian, Senior Geologist at URS-Alaska; Marsha Holm and Emilio Escudero will introduce two beautiful Monasteries, one in the mountains of Aragón, and the other south of Burgos; Marlena Lambert will show us some easy ways to support our physical and mental health during a long hike and many more interesting and informative sessions.”
#16. Reminder: Pacific Crest Trail Days 2013 advance notice from Jason Waicunas of the Planning Committee Outreach. PCT DAYS 2013 is scheduled for September 6-8, 2013 in the Columbia River Gorge on Thunder Island in Cascade Locks, Oregon. Activities include classes, gear raffles, music, movies, and outdoor gear demos. The event is an annual fundraiser that raises revenue for the non-profit Pacific Crest Trail Association, which oversees the management of the Pacific Crest Trail. Funds are raised by donations from exhibitors / vendors / sponsors, attendees, and raffle ticket sales. It's a fun time and a beautiful location for a great cause. Look for updates at the PCTA website. (photo: Ralph on the PCT in WA. Why trail work is a never ending job!)
#17. Reminder: Friday, September 27, 2013 for the ALHDA-West gathering. The American Long Distance Hikers Assoc. - West coast event will be at Camp Augusta, in Nevada City, CA. Posted by Whitney Allgood LaRuffa posted on ALDHA-West facebook page.
Other pilgrims’ events (regional):
#18. Colorado: The REI stores in Lakewood and Boulder are hosting presentations on the Camino next week with Camino veteran Gene McCullough. Monday, February 4, Lakewood REI Store, 5375 S Wadsworth Blvd, Lakewood, CO 80123. (303) 932-0600. Thursday, February 7, Boulder REI Store, 1789 28th St, Boulder, CO 80301, (303) 583-9970.
“The presentation will cover the historical and cultural background of the Camino and the practicalities of walking the route. Whether you have only heard of the Camino and are looking for more information (or you saw the film 'The Way') or whether you are actively planning your trip, this talk will be of interest. Free but a reservation is recommended to guarantee a seat.”
North Carolina: Be at REI for 'Basic Planning for the Camino' on Monday, February 4, 2013, 7:00 p.m. Asheville REI, 31 Schenck Parkway, Asheville, NC 28803, 828-687-0918. “Free but space is limited! RSVP Chris Slater at WesternNorthCarolinaChapter@americanpilgrims.com (not to REI).
“Advice for prospective pilgrims–when to go, where to start, how to get there, what to take, what not to take and what to expect when you’re there. Experienced pilgrims will be on hand to advise.”
Reminder: Seattle: REI presentation: The Camino de Santiago–A 500 Mile Journey Across Spain on Saturday Feb 9, 2013. 6:30-8:30 p.m. by Myrna Aavedal, Marcia Shaver, Jim Eychaner, Becky Andrews and Martha Crites. Free. Register at website. "Between the 12th and 14th centuries, tens of thousands of people walked from all parts of Europe to Santiago de Compostela, Spain on what we now know as the Camino de Santiago. Much of the original infrastructure for housing those pilgrims still exists allowing present day travelers to stay in medieval stone buildings and find camaraderie with people from over 30 countries who make the journey. Our presenters have logged thousands of miles on the Camino. Come learn about walking, biking and the many trails to Santiago."
Thanks for everything!
Susan “backpack45” Alcorn
Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking/Hiking Tales & Tips #171, January 1, 2013
Happy New Year!
1. Sue Kenney writes “Simplify 2013”
2. The lone wolf of California
3. Exploring Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park & More at REI
4. It isn’t in your head (heat loss)
5. And at the other end—another thing to do with your socks
6. American Pilgrims’ Gathering dates set
7. Pacific Crest Trail Days for your calendar
8. ALDHA-West date and location set
9. Camino talk in Seattle
#1. Sue Kenney recently posted a list of 10 Camino Tips for Pilgrims in Life on Facebook, which I thought might be helpful to all hikers and backpackers out there as we bravely begin a new year:
Simplify 2013 - on or off the Camino.
1. Pack lightly. Give away what you don't absolutely need.
2. Breathe. Deeply and consciously.
3. Eat healthy/organic. Support local farmers and artisans.
4. Walk in the forest. Honour the balance and wisdom of Mother Earth.
5. Go barefoot. Your body will love you for it.
6. Act from a compassionate heart. Share with others.
7. Face your fears. What you resist, will persist.
8. Laugh lovingly. See the humor in every situation.
9. Offer gratitude. Be thankful for life's gifts.
10. Be love. Vibrate in the energy of the divine.
(used with permission). Sue Kenney’s website, click here
#2. The lone male wolf, who was dubbed OR-7 by wildlife managers, moved to lower ground in December--apparently for warmer surroundings.
“California Department of Fish and Game program manager Karen Kovacs told The Oregonian that winter storms lashing the high country south of Lassen Peak have forced deer to lower elevations, and the wolf known as OR-7 has followed.” When last reported, OR-7 was in an area of oak-chaparral east of Red Bluff, CA.
OR-7 left his pack and home in Oregon more than a year ago, traveled along the Cascade Range and into California apparently in search of a mate. His collar allows researchers to keep track of his travels and habits. He avoids Hwy. 5, the major north-south route of the west coast and has swum the Klamath River multiple times. Mostly OR-7 has stayed out of sight and gotten in little trouble—though members of his pack were threatened by farmers for killing cattle. OR-7 in contrast, eats primarily deer.
Although OR-7 is the only known wolf to enter California in more than a century, Nick Cady, legal director for Cascadia Wildlands, has commented that he is optimistic about OR-7's likelihood of finding a mate here. The corridor between the two states has become much friendlier to wildlife since clear-cutting and development have eased. OR-7 at 3 & 1/2 is middle-aged in wolf years at this point, but since the battery in his collar is due to expire within a year, we may never know if he finds his soul mate or not!
The wolves remaining in Oregon are doing well. A year ago there were 29 known within the state; since then there have been 25 new pups born for a total of 54. (Info from Associated Press Dec. 8/2012 PORTLAND, Ore.)
#3. Exploring Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park & More: Majestic peaks, hanging glaciers, turquoise lakes, condors soaring overhead… southern Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park offers hikers some of the most magnificent mountain scenery in the world.
“Join Susan Alcorn, author of Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine, for a digital presentation of her recent backpacking trips with her husband [Ralph] on the park’s classic routes–the “W” and the “O” circuit. Susan will also share highlights of their adventures exploring Chile ’s picturesque Lake District, penguin-watching in the Magdalena and Marta Islands , day-tripping in Argentina ’s Los Glaciares National Park , and enjoying the vibrant cities of Santiago and Buenos Aires. If you register for this free presentation at www.rei.com/stores, we will hold a seat for you until the scheduled start time. Seating may be available at the door, even if registration is closed." Please note that REI requests that reservations be made after January 7th.
- 7 pm–8:30 pm, Tuesday, February 5 at REI Fremont, CA
- 7 pm–8:30 pm, Tuesday, February 12 at REI Marina, CA
- 7 pm–8:30 pm, Wednesday, February 20 at REI San Carlos, CA
- 7 pm–8:30 pm, Wednesday, February 27 at REI Corte Madera, CA
- 7 pm–8:30 pm, Thursday, February 28 at REI Brentwood, CA
#4. Kathryn Roethel and Mythbuster, “Body heat isn’t lost primarily from the head.” Roethel goes on to say that the admonition to "cover your head if you want to stay warm” is inaccurate. She states, “the percentage of heat you lose through your head depends on how well you bundle up the rest of your body." Through a series of experiments—subjects wearing wetsuits or bathing suits—they found that the clothing, or lack of it, on the rest of the body affected the amount of heat lost through the head. Further experiments showed that the ears, nose, and checks have specialized blood vessels that are linked to warming or cooling the body’s internal organs—however, there are similar blood vessels in the palms of the hands and the soles of the feel. The takeaway to this is that wearing a cap, or hat, is helpful, but equally important is proper clothing including gloves and footwear. (source: S.F. Chronicle. Dec. 12, 2012)
#5. Sox or Socks? Last month this newsletter ran a list of things hikers could do with socks. Marcyn Clements responded with this helpful hint,
“When Dottie & I were on a long backpack...after we met you [ed.: in the Sierra ages ago!], our packs didn't fit well.... because I had lost weight during the trip, my pack hurt my hips...I put my extra wool socks between the strap and my hips to stop the chafing. I've also used them on my shoulder straps for the same reason. But now I have a new pack that fits nicely, and my socks stay on my feet!
#6. The 16th Annual Gathering of Pilgrims will be at the Old Mission Santa Barbara Renewal Center. March 14 - 17, 2013. The Hospitalero Training will take place March 12 - 14. To go to the American Pilgrims site, click here; to register under National Events go here.
“American Pilgrims on the Camino announces the 16th Annual Gathering March 14-17, in Santa Barbara, California. This year’s theme, Hidden Life of the Camino, celebrates those things unseen or unnoticed along the Trail.
The Gathering starts with the Thursday evening reception. Sessions and presentations start Friday morning and continue through Sunday morning at 11:30. There will be "sessions on bird life with Merry Roy; Geological features and rock formations will be discussed by Bruce Perry from the Department of Geological Sciences at California State University and Paul Dworian, Senior Geologist at URS-Alaska; Marsha Holm and Emilio Escudero will introduce two beautiful Monasteries, one in the mountains of Aragón, and the other south of Burgos; Marlena Lambert will show us some easy ways to support our physical and mental health during a long hike and many more interesting and informative sessions.”
#7. Pacific Crest Trail Days 2013. Advance notice from Jason Waicunas of the Planning Committee Outreach that PCT DAYS 2013 is scheduled for September 6-8, 2013 in the Columbia River Gorge on Thunder Island in Cascade Locks, Oregon. Activities include classes, gear raffles, music, movies, and outdoor gear demos. The event is an annual fundraiser that raises revenue for the non-profit Pacific Crest Trail Association, which oversees the management of the Pacific Crest Trail. Funds are raised by donations from exhibitors / vendors / sponsors, attendees, and raffle ticket sales. It's a fun time and a beautiful location for a great cause. Look for updates at the PCTA website.
#8. Friday, September 27, 2013 for the ALHDA-West gathering. The American Long Distance Hikers Assoc. - West coast event will be at Camp Augusta, in Nevada City, CA. Posted by Whitney Allgood LaRuffa posted on ALDHA-West Facebook page.
#9. Seattle REI presentation: The Camino de Santiago. "A 500 Mile Journey Across Spain" will be given on Saturday Feb 9, 2013. 6:30-8:30 p.m. by Myrna Aavedal, Marcia Shaver, Jim Eychaner, Becky Andrews and Martha Crites. Free. Register at website. "Between the 12th and 14th centuries, tens of thousands of people walked from all parts of Europe to Santiago de Compostela, Spain on what we now know as the Camino de Santiago. Much of the original infrastructure for housing thosepilgrims still exists allowing present day travelers to stay in medieval stone buildings and find camaraderie with people from over 30 countries who make the journey. Our presenters have logged thousands of miles on the Camino. Come learn about walking, biking and the many trails to Santiago."
Susan “backpack45” Alcorn